Testing ACTi E97 10MP Camera

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 13, 2014

$200 for a 10MP camera? Too good to be true or the next big thing to stand out from the commoditizing HD market?

After years going sideways, ACTi is pushing hard with an ambitious, broad line of low cost products. Their recent release of the 10MP E97 minidome is perhaps the best example, drawing a lot of attention for its $200 price.

Non proprietary, H.264, 10MP cameras are pretty rare. Arecont has the widest offerings here. And, interestingly, Arecont likes to brag that camera decisions are all about getting the most pixels per dollar. Indeed, if that is the case, this new ACTi blows Arecont away.

The Test

Low cost and higher resolution are clearly two of the biggest needs in surveillance, so we bought an E97 and matched it up against the Arecont 10MP (which we tested here) as well as the Axis M30 1080p (tested here).

Here's what they look like in our test setup (from left to right, ACTi E97, Arecont AV10115, Samsung SNB-5004, and Axis M3005):

Our goal was to determine:

  • Whose 10MP image quality is better - the ACTi or Arecont? Both in day and night scenes
  • How much of a difference did the 10MP ACTi and Arecont do against the 1080p Axis? Both in day and night scenes
  • What type of bandwidth premium did the 10MPs require compared to the 1080p?
  • Overall, what benefit, if any, does a $200 10MP deliver compared to current offerings?

$*** *** * **** ******? *** **** ** ** **** or *** **** *** ***** ** ***** *** **** *** commoditizing ** ******?

***** ***** ***** ********, **** ** ******* **** **** ** ambitious,***** ****** *** **** ********. ***** ****** ******* ** *** **** E97 ******** ** ******* *** **** *******, ******* **** ** ********* *** *** $*** *****.

*** ***********, *.***, **** ******* *** ****** ****. ******* *** the ****** ********* ****. ***, *************, ******* ***** ** **** that ****** ********* *** *** ************ *** **** ****** *** ******. ******, ** **** ** *** ****, **** *** **** blows ******* ****.

The ****

*** **** *** ****** ********** *** ******* *** ** *** biggest ***** ** ************, ** ** ****** ** *** *** matched ** ** ******* *** ******* **** (***** ******** ****) ** **** ** *** **** *** ***** (****** ****).

****'* **** **** **** **** ** *** **** ***** (**** left ** *****, **** ***, ******* *******, ******* ***-****, *** Axis *****):

*** **** *** ** *********:

  • ***** **** ***** ******* ** ****** - *** **** ** Arecont? **** ** *** *** ***** ******
  • *** **** ** * ********** *** *** **** **** *** Arecont ** ******* *** ***** ****? **** ** *** *** night ******
  • **** **** ** ********* ******* *** *** ***** ******* ******** to *** *****?
  • *******, **** *******, ** ***, **** * $*** **** ******* compared ** ******* *********?

[***************]

Key ********

**** *** *** *** ******** **** *** ****:

  • *********** ** **** ***** ** ****** ***** (~**' ** ******, ~60' ********** ***) ******** ****** **** *** ** ** ******* AV10115, **** **** ******* ** ******* *** *****.
  • **** ***** *********** ** ****** ***** (~**' ** ******, ~***' HFOV) ********** **** ***** **** ******* *******, **** ***** **** less *******, *** ** ****** ***** ******** *** **** *******.
  • *** ***** *********** ****** **** ******* *******, **** ********* ********, but ** ******* ********.
  • *********** ****** **** ******* *****, ******* ** ** ********* *********** the ****** ** *******.
  • ********* *********** ******** ***** **** ******* ******* ** **** ***** (though **** ****** ** *** *****, ***** *** ******* ******** an *********** ***** *****).
  • *********, ******** ** ***** *******, ** *** **** ***** ****, was ** ******* *** *** **** **** ******, * ******* increase.
  • *** ********* ** *** ***** **** ** (****** ******* ***********) to ** ** ******, *********** ******** *******. **** ******** ** matter ***** ********* ****** *** ****, *** ** ***.

*******

***************

*** *** ****** ******** ********** ** ****, ****** *** ****** of ****, ********** ****** **** ******* *** **** ***** ***** than *********** **** *******. *******, ** ****** ******, **** ******* is ****, ******** *** ********** *** **************. ** *** ***** is * *** *******, ***** ***** ** ****** *** ***** 1080p ********** ** *****, ** **** ********* ** ********, ** most, ***** *** ***. ************, ** ******** *** * ******** increase ** ******* *****, ***** *** ~** ******* ********* ***********.

*************, **** ** ********* ***** **** ******* ** **** **** include ********** ** *** ********* ******, ***** *** ** * better ****** *** ***** ******* * ************ ****** **** ****** resolution *** ****** *** ***** ***********.

Factory ***** ******

** ***** *********** ***** ****** **** *** *** *** ** the ***, ******* ****** **** ** ***** ***-******* **** *** factory. ********** *** ** ************ ** ********** * ******* **** and ****** ******* *** *** ****, ****** **** ****** **** ~10-15 *******. *** ***** ***** ***** *** *********** ** *********** between ******* ***** *** ********** *** *******:

** ********* ** *********** ***** / ******* ****** ******* ***** rather **** ****** * **** **** *** ****** *** ******* out ** *****.

Physical ********

** **** ***** ** ****** *** ******** **** ****** ** the ****** *** *** ********:

Web ********* ********

**** ***** ******* *** *** ********* ** *** ***:

Video ******* ********

***** *** ***** ***** ** *** **** *** ** *** in **** **** ***** *** **** ****** ** *** ******'* max * ****** *** ******.

Image ***********

** **** *** **** **** *** ** *** ********** **** and ****** ****** ** **** **** *** *** ***** ************. We ****** *** *** ******* ******** *******:

  • *** ******* ******* ** * *********** **** ******.
  • *** **** ******, ** ***** ** **** *********** ******* ***** and **** ****** * ********* **** ***** ** **** (*** vs. ***).
  • *** ***-**** ** * ********** ******* * *** ***** ********* camera.

********** ****

**** ***** ***** *** *** **** ** **** ****:

**** *****

** ****** *** ******* ***** ~**' **** *** ******* ** order ** **** *********** ** ***** *******. ** **** ***** and *** *****, *** **** *** ******** ****, **** **** lines ******* **** *** ******* ******* (**** ** **** * **. line *), *** ******* ******* ** *** *******. 

*** *****

** *** *****, *** *** *** **** ****** *** *** test ***** *** *******, ***** *** ******* **** ******** ** usable *****. *** *** ***** ********* ******* ***-**** ****** *********** all *** ***** ******* ** *** ****.

******

** ***** *** **** ***** ** * ****** ****, ****** us * ***' ********** *** ** ***** ** *** *********** in *********** ** ****** *****.

**** ***** ***** *** *** **** ** **** *****:

**** *****

**** *** ******* ** **** ********, *** ***'* *********** **** behind *** *******, **** **** *** ***** **** ** *** chart ***** *******, ****** ******* ******* *** ******* *** ****. The ***** ** ****** ************ ** *** *** ** **** range.

*** *****

** **** *****, *** *** ** ****** ** ****** *** subject. *** ***** *** ***-**** *** **** **** **** ** detect *** ***** ** **** *****, *** *** *** *******.

*********

** *** *****, ** ****** ***** ********* ****** ** ***** (*** or ***), ********* ****** ******, *** ************ ********* ** *** light (**** ~** ** ~** ***** "****" *******). ***** ** this, ** ***** **** *** ***'* *** ************** ** ******, and *** ** **** ** ****** **** ** ********.

***** *** *******' ******* **********, *** *** ***'* ********* ***** was ***** **** **** *** ******* ******* *** **** ***** in **** *****, ****** ** *** *** ******* *********** ** low *****. *******, ************* *** ******* ** * *** (*** ***'* maximum), *********** ** *** ***** ***** ************* ** ***** .* Mb/s, *** ****** ********* ** *** ****. 

***** ****** **** **** **** ******** ** ********* ** ******* framerates **** ******** ********* ** ****, ** **** **** ****** in **** ****** ******* *****, ** ****.

Test **********

*** ******* **** ****** ***** ******* ********, ****** *** ********, which *** ************ ** */***. *** ********* ******** ******** **** used ** **** ****:

  • **** ***: ***-***-**.**.**-**
  • ******* *******: *****
  • **** *****: *.**.*.*
  • ******* ***-****: *.*********

Comments (17)

Was the same lens used for all 4 cameras?

We use the manufacturer recommended or integrated lenses for each model, for all tests.

No, the lenses are not the same, and it would not even be physically possible to make them all the same.

This test reflects the actual performance of the full camera 'system'.

Thank you for the confirmation. I wanted to know the lens as certain lens on a box type camera will give an edge to it. Glad to see the tests being done but would like to have a color comparison chart as well if possible.

Nice report though I don't see the bandwidth consumption chart really being useful for comparision unless all cameras are doing the same framerate. Ideally maybe do two charts, one with call cameras doing same FPS and another doing their max FPS. But if only one is used I'd prefer one with all cameras at the same FPS.

Hey Luis, fair point. We've updated the report with a second, standardized BW chart.

Such interactive and immediate response between subscribers and members of IPVM staff is what really brings value to the product. :)

Good test guys. I would be curious how the ACTi Superior Low Light System (SLLS) compares to the Samsung Super Light Enhancer, maybe downstream you could do a test of the various Low Light offerings.

What's a model number you are recommending? I am not sure which ACTi cameras are 'SLLS' approved or not.

Multiple units; in E series it includes E94 1.3MP or E95 2MP in the same format as the E97 for instance.

In a Box Cameras, it would be the E23. The secret is anything that says specifically 1.3MP or 2MP are Super Low Light. 1MP/3MP/5MP/10MP are not SLLS.

I received my acti e97 camera today and I also had to focus the camera as it was not done very well from factory. Looks like acti is having some quality control issues.

Duncan, good feedback! We have a discussion on factory focus issues. I am still curious to know how manufacturers focus at the factory. I presume there's has to be a human being manually verifying each one. yes/no?

That is a great question. I will ask how we do it, and report back.

In your test devices picture you are saying : "Here's what they look like in our test setup (from left to right, Axis M3005, Samsung SNB-5004, Arecont 10MP and ACTi 10MP)" ...but you have just 4 cameras . Please check.

We mention 4 cameras (Axis, Samsung, Arecont, ACTi) and then show 4 cameras. Am I missing something here?

It looks like the Axis is on the right side in the pic to me. Shouldn't it read from right to left?

Wow, someone fixed it within 1 second of me posting, now thats service!

I am stuck with 2 E97's, I was able to return 4 plus all the E77's I bought. I have a better picture with my Hikvision 3mp vandal domes at half the price!

The E97 makes a fine paperweight, but don't try to use one as a boat anchor, they float.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Genetec Privacy Protector Tested on Nov 12, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Privacy Protector into Security Center, an analytic which anonymizes individuals in cameras' fields of view...
Dahua Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (HDBW4231FN-E2-M) on Nov 07, 2018
Dahua has introduced a dual-imager dome model, the HDBW4231FN-E2-M, with two independently positionable sensors including integrated IR, not found...
Winter 2019 IP Networking Course on Nov 05, 2018
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals.  Lots of network training exists but none of it...
Cloud Video Storage Usage 2018 on Oct 31, 2018
Storing email and documents in the cloud have long been common, with on-site email or file servers increasingly eliminated. However, what about...
Axxon Face Search Tested on Oct 26, 2018
AxxonSoft has brought facial recognition to their Axxon Next VMS for free with the simply named Face Search, claiming to allow users to find...
Hanwha Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (PNM-7000VD) on Oct 18, 2018
Hanwha has introduced their first dual-imager model, the PNM-7000VD, a twin 1080p model featuring independently positionable sensors and a snap-in...
Video Quality / Compression Tutorial on Oct 17, 2018
While CODECs, like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG, get a lot of attention, a camera's 'quality' or compression setting has a big impact on overall...
Dahua Face Recognition Camera Tested on Oct 15, 2018
Dahua has been one of the industry's most vocal proponents of the value that AI creates: As part of this, Dahua has released a facial...
Last Chance - October 2018 Camera Course on Oct 04, 2018
Today is the last day to register for the October 2018 Camera Course, register now. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
Axis 4K vs. 5MP Camera Shootout (Q3518-LVE + Q3517-LVE) on Oct 04, 2018
Axis has released the 4K counterpart to their 5MP Q3517-LVE (see our test). Axis claims of both these cameras: Simply put, AXIS Q3518(17)-LVE...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Sticker' Surveillance Camera Developed (CSEM Witness) on Nov 16, 2018
The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) has announced what it calls the: world’s first fully autonomous camera that can be...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
Facial Detection Tested on Nov 16, 2018
Facial detection and recognition are increasingly offered by video surveillance manufacturers. Facial detection detects faces in an image/video...
Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact